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Dylan Dreiling Comes Up Clutch Against Left-Handed Pitching Again For Tennessee Baseball

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

OMAHA, Neb. — Back in the fall, a scout asked Tennessee pitcher Zander Sechrist who on the Vols’ roster he should keep an eye on.

 “I said ‘Dylan Dreiling,'” Sechrist said with a caveat. “‘If he can hit lefties better.’”

That was the knock on Dreiling in a freshman season where he earned 95 at-bats as a top bench player and periodical starter. He was zero-for-15 against left-handed pitching.

Nine days after hitting the walk off double against Florida State left-handed pitcher Connor Hults, Dreiling provided the new biggest swing of Tennessee’s season against another left-handed pitcher.

Trailing 1-0 with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, Dreiling smoked Kaiden Wilson’s 1-1 fastball 390 feet into the Tennessee bullpen in right field. The big swing gave the Vols a 2-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish as they defeated Texas A&M 4-1 to force a deciding game three of the College World Series finals.

“You mean Dylan drilling home runs? That’s my nickname for him,” Sechrist joked postgame.

After hitting four-for-four against left-handed pitching in the first two games of the College World Series finals, Dreiling is now hitting a staggering 34-of-87 (.391) against left-handed pitching. Tennessee’s left fielder turned a weakness into a major strength over the offseason and the Vols are reaping the rewards of it.

“He got me a few times in the fall,” Sechrist said. “We had many at-bats (in the fall) and for him to take a lefty deep today was really rewarding.”

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While hitting left-handed pitching wasn’t something Dreiling did at an elite level when he got to Tennessee, his ability to deliver in clutch moments has been a constant of his two seasons in Knoxville.

“It would go back to last year. I had noticed throughout the season but especially in the Vanderbilt moment,” Tennessee right fielder Kavares Tears said postgame. “He came off the bench and did what he did. That’s when I was like, wow, he is even-keeled.”

Dreiling came off the bench to hit a two-out, two-strike game tying home run in Tennessee’s series opening win over Vanderbilt, a game that proved to be the turning point in the Vols’ season.

It was a precursor of what was coming in the rest of Dreiling’s career. His 72 RBIs this season are just one behind team-leader Christian Moore and he’s come through in big moments all season. His two massive swings in Omaha are leading the way.

Dreiling speaks softly and lets his play do the talking, never getting too high or too low in the game’s most nerve wracking moments.

“He’s already a quiet kid, but I think his heart just kind of stays calm, his mind stays calm,” catcher Cal Stark said of Dreiling. “And I feel like he’s kind of built for those moments. He’s done it all year.”

Dreiling’s done it all year and he’s doing it on the biggest stage for Tennessee. He’s now 11-for-22 (.500) at the plate this College World Series with two home runs, three walks and eight runs batted in.

He’s been Tennessee’s most consistent bat in Omaha and his big swing Sunday afternoon has Tennessee a win away from its first National Championship.

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